I am back to Germany. I mean back to testing German cars. Early on it was an Italian for me but then I am back to my favorite German cars. The reason I love them is due to level of engineering which goes into them but then Germans are a lot which aren’t known for reliability of their cars. Don’t get me wrong but then the Japs make reliable cars as can be proven from their various cars world wide. Well, I don’t want to start a war amongst the Japs and Germans more than what it already is but then a recent report sparked this debate that the Japanese are making excellent achievements in making low cost but high tech cars whereas the Germans are unable to place a correct price for their technology. I have once such German with me which actually doesn’t command a premium over its fellow country men but then is equally competent, if not more. Well, I am talking about Audi’s premium offering, the Audi A8L in India. The “L” notation stands for Long wheelbase model. Here is offering a detail about the test drive of the Audi A8L.
Hmm. Amongst the trio of Germans, I prefer the Audi A8’s looks. The reason behind this is crystal clear. The Audi looks the most menacing of the trio. It has that typical family face (which even the others do) with that wide gaping grille and the interwined circles logo. Those head lamps would give a complex to any of the other cars in its category with the full array of daytime running LEDs. Audi reasons that there is no need for fog lamps in the Audi A8 since the head lamps are so powerful that they can easily handle all the lighting chores. At 5.27 meters, the L badge does suit it to the T. It has a slightly coupe like silhouette towards the rear. The wing mirrors are also elegantly crafted. 18 inch multi spoke alloy wheels do the trick of giving this car more of a sporty character. The LEDs at the tail lamps and mind you, there are 72 of them in all, will serve you till the life of the car. There is a panoramic sunroof and it is the biggest one I have actually seen on a car. The rear design of the car looks very much like the BMW 7 series. Those twin tail pipes are also subtly hidden in the rear bumper.
The best place that all these Germans offer are their interiors. It would be sufficient to say that the Audi A8L in India is a “chalta phirta” technology bundle. It has got all what you want and some which you wouldn’t understand. Mercedes started the technology of massaging seats and Audi has also incorporated it in the Audi A8L now. It gets WLAN hotspot integrated into the dash. I am been told that this is the first car across the world to have gotten this feature. There are many other online features that you can avail or order from the new online system provided. Providing link to the net feature is the UMTS module. Then there is the touchpad with the 3rd generation MMI system. I find the MMI system easier to use than the Idrive and COMAND system offered by its competitors. There is a Bang & Olufsen 12 CD changer system which has an excellent sound output. Steering mounted controls are present for the audio system, Bluetooth linking and also cruise control. I wonder who in their right senses would drive an Audi A8L on their own? After all, this is the car to be chauffer driven in and not to be driving by yourself. All you have to do is hire the chauffer, enjoy the automatic 4 zone climate control, press a button to recede the foot rest and push it twice again to get the rear seat massaging action in full swing. No wonder that the rear seats are more comfortable to sit than the front ones (my personal opinion since I didn’t want to be in the front seat of the car). I wouldn’t say anything about the space or head room, leg room since if you can’t fit in the Audi A8L, the next option would be to go for the Rolls Royce Ghost or Phantom models. Also think of even the Maybach series which have been recently launched in India. Boot space is also good but then I didn’t get an exact figure about it. From estimates, it would approximately be 600 liters.
The Audi A8 in India is built using the fabled Audi Space Frame. This means a light weight chassis but then it is rigid enough. Earlier Audi A8s were tuned more for comfort but then this time around Audi has taken the middle path of balancing the ride as well as handling of this big sedan. The three Germans have divided the job between themselves with now BMW taking over the ride comfort mantle, Mercedes happy with the handling tag and Audi besting both of them with equal mixes of both. The Audi sports air suspension with electronic shock absorption control and this ensures that at the tip of a button, the car’s ride height can be increased or lowered. To say the least, the car does have a good ride quality with the comfort setting selected. Even with the more aggressive sports mode, the suspension marginally firms up but then it still somehow maintains the ride quality that is made for. This doesn’t mean that the handling suffers. But tell me, who in their senses would even want to attempt an 80 kmph turn in an Audi A8L? I don’t think so that anyone would. Most of all, all those tycoons who want to reach as fresh as a Lily to their office. NVH is something which is unheard of from luxury limos but then at elevated speeds, there is a hint of road noise coming into the cabin.
The engine options in the Audi A8L in India are wide and varied. There is the range topping W12 engine shared with the Bentley models and which pumps out 500 horsepower of peak power and 625Nm of max torque. The second engine is the company’s 4.2 V8 petrol FSI which makes 372 Bhp and peak torque of 445 Nm. The third is the yet to be launched diesel engine which displaces 3 liters and would have a power output of 290 Bhp and a good 356 Nm of torque. All the engines would be mated to 8 speed triptronic auto transmissions. The best part of this transmission is that it is linked with the navigation system in the MMI interface. This means that the intelligent system, left on its own would chalk in feedback from the navigation system and lessen gearshifts. For example, the road ahead is going to curve, then the car wouldn’t upshift and hence save on fuel economy. The W12 engine races from 0-100 kmph in just 4.7 seconds whereas its top speed is 270 kmph. The TFSI engine in the meanwhile achieves the speed of 0-100 kmph in 5.4 seconds and attains a top speed of 246 kmph. The diesel is expected to cross the 0-100 kmph barrier in 6.8 seconds but then since it is yet to be launched in India, the top speed can only be speculated as in the regions of 240 kmph.
As far as braking goes, the car employs the usual ventilated discs at the front and solid ones at the rear. Assisting the brakes are Electronic Differential Lock (EDL), ESP, ABS as also Electromechanical parking brake. Safety is also taken care by the Pre Sense system wh8ich detects a crash and goes onto prim the vehicle and its occupants for the same event by closing the sunroof as also windows, space frame which can deflect the energy of the crash into 4 different paths, 8 air bags, Quattro system and also the collapsible steering column.
Well no one would care about the fuel efficiency of an Audi A8L but then we still are in India and this thing does matter here. Well, the W12 returns fuel efficiency figures of approximately 5.6 kmpl in city and 9.2 kmpl on the highway. The TFSi motor goes all the way to 8.4 kmpl in city and 12.3 kmpl on the highway. The diesel is expected to be the star returning 10.3 kmpl in city and 14.4 kmpl on the highway.
Now, the Audi A8L in India is one of the best cars that German engineering has provided for to the world. It has got everything that one would need from a car and plus somethings which one wouldn’t need. It has got strong competition from its German peers and also one of the British or Indian (you decide) brands. The Audi A8L price in India starts from Rs 72,50,000 and goes all the way to Rs 1,26,00,000 for the W12 version. All these prices are ex-show room, Delhi. Now bring in more showrooms and service centers Audi.
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